Don’t just read the news, make it

A few months ago, I was thinking about all the questions I wished I could ask someone that helped develop the TiVo user interface, and then I realized there was nothing stopping me from just emailing and asking. After a bit of friend-of-a-friend networking, I got in touch with the Director of TiVo User Experience, and got ten questions I’ve always wanted to ask answered. I posted the full interview here on PVRblog.

If you remember the old six degrees phenomena, anyone is 6 hops or less away from you. In the age of email and social software, I bet it’s more like 4 hops or less (Margret was 2 hops away). If there’s a lesson for other webloggers here, it’s this: if there’s something you’ve always wanted to ask one of your idols or you have an idea for an interview you’d like to see, there’s nothing stopping you from tracking the right person down and getting the answers you wanted. I urge you to give it a try someday.

links for 2004-12-08

Bands that put sites between themselves and fans

Merlin’s post about the Five Mistakes Band & Label Sites Make is incredibly spot on and mirrors my own problems finding samples from new bands to listen to, finding tour dates in my town, and trying to find tickets to shows.

The only bands I can think of that do it right are The Long Winters, Dealership, Citizens Here and Abroad, and Sloan.

You can easily and quickly find MP3s to download, show dates including location maps and 21+/all-ages info, and Sloan even offers RSS feeds of their tour dates, so you can set the subscription in your reader and forget about it until they tour again.

That all four band sites were built by folks connected closely to blogging probably has something to do with their extreme utility and good balance between usability and artistic design.

Day in the life blogs

Someone on MetaFilter pointed to this blog by a new San Diego cop and though they say he was formerly a bit of a power hungry campus security cop at UCSD, I can’t help but enjoy following along in his daily entries.

Early on when I started blogging, the one thing I loved reading about was people from different walks of life and in different professions. Basically when blogging started every single person doing it was a web designer, so when you saw a blog by anyone else, it was novel.

Back in 2000, I wanted to start a bunch of blogs done by folks in all sorts of regular jobs, called something like “Day in the Life” blogs. The idea was that if you could get a cop, doctor, chef, lawyer, car mechanic, dentist, accountant, and others to blog, you could have a rich, engaging, living archive of what it’s like to be in various types of work. The goal was to have this group of blogs available for teens to read, to help them answer the elusive question “what do you want to be when you grow up?” which everyone seemed to pester me with when I was 14.

The rub is that you need to find a dozen really interesting people and good writers in all those walks of life to participate, and they all need to have the time and motivation to contribute to the project, despite their likely active lives. As we near 2005, however, I bet you could just build up a blogroll that could effectively become the project, based on blogs that have launched since then (for instance, this would be the Policeman blog).

links for 2004-12-02